Posted on 28 September 2022

Two new protected areas in Bulgaria and Georgia have given a big boost to efforts to prevent sturgeons from slipping towards extinction. All 26 remaining sturgeon and paddlefish species – part of the same family – are threatened with extinction due to threats such as hydropower dams blocking their migration routes, poaching for the illegal trade in wild caviar, and habitat loss. The Bulgarian government’s decision to create the 288-hectare Esetrite - Vetren protected area, the first in the country aiming to safeguard sturgeons, comes after long-running efforts by WWF alongside fisherfolk and others who have an interest in the future of the river and its wildlife. Meanwhile, the Georgian government’s decision to protect key sturgeon habitats in a 7km-long stretch of the Rioni river is important for their future in the region. We remain strongly committed to our global sturgeon initiative, which also brings benefits to other freshwater wildlife and the many communities who depend on healthy river environments.